Surviving Mesothelioma

By any measure, surviving cancer is not easy. Surviving mesothelioma cancer, a disease of the lining of the lungs, is an even more difficult challenge – but one that has been accomplished by some who have battled the aggressive disease.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a toxic mineral often found in industrial products like construction materials.

[box type=”note”]Between 2,000 and 3,000 people are diagnosed every year with this cancer, most of whom are older male adults with a history of working around asbestos.[/box]

An Early Diagnosis Improves Survival Rates

Increasing chances of survival almost always starts with an early diagnosis. The earlier the illness is discovered, the better someone’s chances of surviving it.

Unfortunately, because the disease has symptoms that mimic other, not-as-serious illnesses, mesothelioma cancer is usually discovered when it has progressed to later stages. That makes it much more difficult for doctors to treat successfully.

The importance of getting to a doctor cannot be understated. Discuss your medical and occupational history and inquire about having a diagnosis performed if an asbestos-related disease is suspected.

[box type=”note”]Early and regular screenings may provide more favorable options. In fact, one research study of 131 patients found that as much as 90 percent of pleural mesothelioma patients who were diagnosed with stage I survived over one year, compared to less than 33 percent of patients diagnosed at stage IV.[/box]

Treatment Options

Surviving mesothelioma also requires effective treatments. Surgery is often the most effective treatment option available for patients. This process involves removing the cancerous tumors in the body, which is easier if the cancer is contained to certain areas and hasn’t metastasized, or spread.

Chemotherapy, a process of using drugs to destroy cancer cells, is another treatment option. Common mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs include:

  • Cisplatin
  • Alimta
  • Carboplatin
  • Gemcitabine
  • Onconase
  • Navelbine

Multimodal therapy, an approach that utilizes two or more treatment options, has also been found to be very effective for some patients. For more experimental treatments, patients often have the ability to explore clinical trials.

These treatments hosted by research institutions, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies or a combination of these groups. is a great resource to find available trials that are actively recruiting.

Keep Fighting

Despite statistically low survival rates for mesothelioma cancer, people are beating the cancer every day. A negative prognosis is simply an estimated assumption, based on other people’s experience. This is in no way a statement about what your situation will be.

You can beat the odds. Just as the case is for many other cancers, having a great support network and performing all the necessary treatments will give you the best chances of survival. Become a survivor and encourage others to continue fighting their mesothelioma cancer.

Author Bio:

Mark Hall is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. Between his interests in environmental health and his writing experiences, Mark has committed to communicating relevant news and information regarding the dangers of asbestos exposure and breakthroughs in mesothelioma treatments.

Cesar Zambrano

Cesar Zambrano works for the Mesothelioma Center at an organization that works 1-on-1 with individuals affected by lung cancer.

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